The question is when would be the appropriate time?
If the State government has got the plans and proposal from the federal government’s laboratory, it should be made known to the public now. What Sabah facing is a problem which needs immediate attention and action without delay. Any statement from the government such as still studying the details and proposals may only be seen as lame excuses.
SAPP had made numerous memorandums and proposals to the government at both Federal and State level. We have been pushing for the government to embark on an immediate action plan to solve illegal immigrants situation in Sabah, including the syndicated Mykad and other dubious documents.
In year 1999, SAPP presented a memorandum ‘Illegal Immigrants: Mother of All Threats’ to the then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. And in 2006 SAPP also presented a ‘14-point Memorandum’ on ‘Time For Direct Preventive Actions’ to the ex-Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Badawi and also to the then Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who is now the Prime Minister.
All these memorandum were submitted with proposals to tackle the problem in a firm and humane manner. Together with this SAPP also presented various issues related to Sabah. However we regret that many of these issues repeatedly raised did not receive any response or action from the government. That was why SAPP decided that Sabah’s future depends very much on the people of Sabah and not overly dependent on the Federal government.
Until today the government is still talking about study, discussion and proposals. I had pointed out earlier that there is no mention of any intention nor is there any provision of funds in the Tenth Malaysian Plan to solve the illegal immigrants problems in Sabah. We know very well that the long term and continual action to tackle these long standing problems would need huge amount of funding.
The task involves huge number of manpower, mobilization costs, detention and deportation and preventive actions. The financial costs of maintaining the detention centres runs into millions of Ringgit per annum at the expense of the government and the people.
Prolonged delay will only allow the problem to get larger each day and more difficult to handle. The willingness of the government in solving this problem will make a whole difference because we can see our neighboring State of Sarawak does not have such problem.
By : DATUK RICHARD YONG WE KONG (sabahkini)